Gigi Engle said: “Sure, getting a new haircut has a reputation as about the cheesiest way a woman says, ‘Eat a dick’ to her ex, but I had to do something drastic to remind myself that I am a kick-ass woman who didn’t deserve this BS, to feel in control of my life.”
Why did I feel the same way?
Anyone who has known me since I was a teenager knows that I love to experiment with my hair. I started high school with a short emo cut and ended it with long hair. In between all that it was dyed almost every color of the rainbow and trimmed, layered, and styled every which way. Didn’t matter who I was dating or what I was doing (with the exception of the Theater Gods); I was in control of my hair and my life.
For some reason, I lost some of that control with The Captain. Part of it is because he said he loved my hair long, so I kept it as long as possible—only cutting it to shoulder length after my grandparents passed and I needed some kind of change/control/difference. Part of it was because he said he loved my natural color (he’s not the only person to have said this), so I stopped dying it unnatural colors and stuck to the occasional balayage and highlights/lowlights. The creative styling I’d once had with my hair gradually faded away. For most of 2018, my hair was in a ponytail. For the past two years, my hair has barely touched a curling iron or straightener. I fell into a bit of an aesthetic slump, and this greatly affected my self-perception and happiness.
I have this habit of subconsciously molding myself into a relationship. I’ll pick up their hobbies and make them my own. I’ll watch their shows. Listen to their music. And I’ll put aside my own face in the mirror for what will make them happier even if it doesn’t make me feel good. This is something I’m currently working on (successfully), but that’s why one of the first major changes I made after The Captain and I ended things was to schedule a hair appointment.
Everyone makes jokes about the post-breakup haircut, but it’s one of the most cathartic things a girl can do, especially after a long term relationship. It’s like the literal weight of the relationship is being cut away. And at the end there’s a new you in the mirror ready to take on the world as a single woman. For me, of course, it wasn’t so much a “new” woman as the woman I used to be in an emotionally-stronger, smarter, more independent package.
I hemmed and hawed over what I wanted to do for a while. Part of me wanted to dye my hair blonde, but that was one of The Captain’s requests (for some reason he thought I’d look good as a blonde) and I wanted to do something purely for me. I’ve always loved unnatural colors; in the past my hair’s been red, blue, yellow, black, pink/blue/purple, blonde ombre, chunky blonde, and occasionally whatever temporary color I sprayed on. So I decided to go with a solid purple ombre since it’s been my favorite color for a while now, and rather than cutting off my hair I decided to get some bangs so I could style them in different ways.
It took about four hours in the chair, but it was well worth it. Every step made me feel more and more like I was making the right decision. First, my hair was bleached and the brown lifted away nicely. Then we trimmed off a lot of the growth—my hair is very thick and grows pretty quickly—and put on the purple. It ended up being a few different shades of purple so it’ll fade in different hues, but it’s vibrant and beautiful.
Overall, the reactions from other people have been overwhelmingly positive. It was nice to change my profile picture on social media after, like, almost three years? And having a recent, more authentic image of myself as I wade back into the waters of dating is something I wanted from the get go. A month later, I’m happy to say that I love my purple hair and it’s perhaps one of my favorite styles I’ve ever done—not just for its aesthetics but for its emotional resonance. This hair reflects the woman I am now, but also the girl I used to be—the one I’m rediscovering every day in tiny pieces of joy like strands of purple hair.
Hair Done By: Cherie Cook at Beauty Zone.